Rich history, nature and recreational activities make South Carolina a viable candidate for a family reunion destination. Lush greens and warm weather are factors contributing to the state’s reputation as a golfing paradise. Its abundance of top-notch courses makes golf a popular sport for residents and visitors alike.
Boardwalks and Broadway in Myrtle Beach
Myrtle Beach is a haven for golf lovers, with many of its 100-plus courses open to the public. Families can take advantage of courses that offer free play for kids or special packages. For selection, quality and value, Myrtle Beach lives up to its billing as a top golf destination.
Stretching 60 miles along the coast of South Carolina, the beaches in Myrtle Beach and the entire Grand Strand are naturally a prime attraction. Families go to the Grand Strand for sailboat, jet ski, canoe and kayak rentals. Other water activities include parasailing, surfing, boogie-boarding, windsurfing and kite surfing. Fishing is a relaxing option, as the Grand Strand offers eight piers for the activity.
Although it is well known for its beaches and golf courses, Myrtle Beach has numerous activities and attractions for every interest. In the heart of Myrtle Beach is Broadway at the Beach, a shopping/entertainment complex. There are more than 100 stores and attractions like Ripley’s Aquarium and Pavilion Nostalgia Park, an amusement park. It offers such dining options as Hard Rock Café, Johnny Rockets and Capriz Italian Feast.
Ripley’s Aquarium showcases aquatic species such as sharks, jellyfish and stingray. One exhibit, “Dangerous Reef,” takes visitors along a 340-foot-long glidepath through an acrylic tunnel for a glimpse at various sea creatures. Visitors can touch stingrays as they glide by at the exhibit “Friendship Flats.”
Family Kingdom Amusement Park & Water Park offers go karts, kiddie rides and thrill rides such as Swamp Fox, a wooden roller coaster named after the nickname of Revolutionary War hero Francis Marion. The water park offers water slides, a lazy river and children’s area.
The Carolina Opry is one of the most popular theater shows in Myrtle Beach. It features 36 singers, dancers, comedians and musicians in a 2,200-seat venue. Audience members enjoy two hours of entertainment incorporating dance with tunes from Broadway to classic to pop. The Opry’s “Good Vibrations” is a 90-minute virtual tour of the sixties, seventies and eighties, taking guests back through the decades.
Brookgreen Gardens, nestled between Myrtle Beach and Pawleys Island, is considered the finest outdoor presentation of American figurative sculpture in the world and was the first public sculpture garden in America. It features a collection of more than 1,400 works by over 350 sculptors from the 19th century to the present. Visitors can also go to the neighboring Low Country Zoo, the only accredited zoo on the coast of the Carolinas.
Relaxing Reunion Option in Hilton Head
Located off the coast of South Carolina, Hilton Head Island offers a relaxing environment for families who want to take a break from the urban frenzy. Some residents and returning visitors refer to it as “The Golf Island,” as clear skies, lush grass and comfortable weather attract golfers year round. Miles of beaches also draw people to this foot-shaped barrier island.
Harbour Town is home to the island’s iconic candy-striped lighthouse. It offers more than two dozen boutiques, custom gift and crafts shops, jewelry stores and native art galleries. There is also an abundance of dining options. Dolphin-sighting and adventure cruises are available. Bike riding is an option for families who want to explore the island.
Coastal Discovery Museum gives visitors insight into Hilton Head and other islands through its indoor and outdoor exhibits. It also offers guided tours and cruises around the island. Scavenger hunts in the Kid’s Zone let children and parents explore the natural history of the island.
Adventure Cove is a family-friendly option that offers attractions that please everyone. It features two Caribbean-themed miniature golf courses and the island’s largest arcade. Those who want to take a break from golfing can feed the Japanese koi in the ponds. Other activities include laser tag, bumper cars and an indoor play room.
ZipLine Hilton Head is an outdoor attraction for the entire family. On seven ziplines, people soar through the trees 75 feet from the ground overlooking wildlife in Broad Creek. Groups up to eight people can zip together with two guides.
Hilton Head Island Beach & Tennis Resort, ranked as on the top tennis resorts in the nation, is the perfect place to stay for tennis enthusiasts. With well-kept courts and programs for all ages and levels, visitors learn how to stroke a racket with perfection. Private and group instruction lessons are available.
Disney’s Hilton Head Island Resort, cloaked in 100-year-old oaks is fashioned after a 1940s hunting and fishing lodge. Soak in the Big Dipper, a heated pool and spa. The Little Dipper Pool delights children with water-spitting frogs.
Revolutionary History in Rock Hill/ York County
A short distance from Charlotte, North Carolina, the Rock Hill area and York County has plenty to offer, from recreational activities to dinner shows.
Located on the border between North and South Carolina, Carowinds is a 398-acre amusement park that offers family rides, thrill rides and live entertainment. Planet Snoopy is a Peanuts-themed children’s area. One part of the theme park, Boomerang Bay, is designated for water rides. A new addition is WindSeeker, a 301-foot-tall swing ride, the park’s tallest ride,
Gleincarn Garden in Rock Hill offers landscaped lawns and walkways. It features a tiered fountain, Japanese bridge and walking trails. Visitors can see azaleas, dogwoods, wisteria and camellias. The Veterans Garden is its newest addition.
Cherry Park is a recreational complex with five softball/ baseball fields and five multi-purpose fields. It includes a playground, picnic tables and grills. There is also a 1.5-mile trail for walking, biking and jogging.
Kings Mountain State Park is a 6,883-acre haven in York County. It has miles of forested trails, two fishing lakes and several streams for fishing. The park also has a replica of a 19th century South Carolina yeoman farm. Campsites, some with electricity and water are available.
Adjacent to the state park is Kings Mountain National Military Park, which preserves the site of the battle of Kings Mountain, an important victory during the Revolutionary War. The visitor center has exhibits and a battlefield trail. A 26-minute film discusses the battle’s significance.
Historic Brattonsville is a Revolutionary War living history site featuring more than 30 historic structures of the Carolina Piedmont from the 1750s to 1840s. Visitors observe rare farm animals such as Gulf Coast sheep, Devon cattle and Ossabaw Island hogs. It also offers African-American historic interpretation.
NarroWay Theatre & Conference Center offers a variety of shows, from Broadway-style to biblical. Dinner is served at the seats. The Fourth Cross, which investigates the crucifixion of Jesus, and The Last Supper, providing the Christian perspective on the Passover, are a couple of the productions offered.
A local landmark in Fort Mill, The Peach Stand is a store selling fresh produce and gourmet items including peaches, strawberries and blackberries. Visitors can also find grass-fed beef and free-range eggs. The store has a custom butcher shop, a restaurant and deli, as well as a bakery and ice cream.
Authentic Southern Charm in Charleston
Charleston abounds with natural beauty and vibrant history, making it a desirable travel destination. Old antebellum homes and historic forts distinguish the city. It offers a variety of recreational activities and shopping opportunities as well.
Magnolia Plantation & Its Gardens is a 17th century estate featuring the oldest public gardens in the nation. The plantation witnessed how American history unfolded from the Revolution and Civil War to the present. Group tours of the Plantation House give visitors a glimpse of the Drayton family, who owned the plantation for more than three centuries. Boat tours depart daily from the gardens along the Ashley River, exploring Magnolia’s old flooded rice field.
South Carolina Aquarium houses 5,000 to 6,000 aquatic animals in its exhibits. Its Great Hall gives visitors a view of the Charleston Harbor. The centerpiece is “Carolinas Sea Exhibit,” displaying colorful fish around the reef habitats on the coast of South Carolina. The interactive Touch Tank allows visitors to touch an array of invertebrates such as hermit crabs, sea urchins and Atlantic stingrays.
Patriots Point Naval & Maritime Museum is one of the state’s main tourist attractions. The centerpiece is the USS Yorktown, the 10th aircraft carrier that served in the United States Navy. The Congressional Medal of Honor Museum features interactive exhibits that tell the stories of brave Americans who were honored with the nation’s highest award for military valor. Customized and self-guided tours are available for groups.
Tanger Outlet Center gives visitors the opportunity to go bargain hunting at brand name stores such as Saks Fifth Avenue OFF 5TH, Banana Republic Factory Store, Lucky Brand Jeans and Tommy Hilfiger. Designed to remind shoppers of historic downtown Charleston, the intricate architecture is one of its charms.
Fort Sumter tours are available. Visitors board a yacht that takes them on a narrated 30-minute cruise of Charleston Harbor. The yacht stops at Fort Sumter National Monument, where the first shots of Civil War were fired.
Charleston is home to the Charleston River Dogs, a professional minor league baseball team competing in the South Atlantic League. The River Dogs are an affiliate of the New York Yankees.